Category Archives: Competitions

Awesome Ahlmann Scores Again at Longines Leg in Leipzig

Christian Ahlmann with Caribis Z. (FEI/Leanjo de Koster)

It’s long been one of his favourite venues, and Germany’s Christian Ahlmann had his home crowd in the palm of his hand once again when scorching to victory in the eleventh leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Leipzig.

Just three weeks ago, the man who currently holds 17th spot in the world rankings clinched a thrilling last-to-go victory in Mechelen (BEL) with the spectacular nine-year-old Clintrexo to shoot up the series leaderboard. Here it was another grey stallion, the 12-year-old Caribis Z, that carried him into pole position when last into the seven-horse jump-off, and he now stands top of the Western European League table with just two qualifying legs left to run.

Belgium’s Francois Mathy Jr (Uno de la Roque) and Italy’s Lorenzo de Luca (Armitages Boy) produced the only other double-clears to finish second and third, while Ahlmann’s compatriot, Daniel Deusser, posted the quickest round against the clock with Tobago, but had to settle for fourth with an unlucky fence down.

Ahlmann’s record at Leipzig is quite something. This was his seventh win at the fixture which celebrates its 22nd anniversary this year, and it was here that he steered Taloubet Z to claim the FEI World Cup™ Jumping title back in 2011. It was also here that he retired that great stallion after their final and emotional winning performance 12 months ago. It holds a very special place in his heart.

“This has always been an amazing show for me, and for my horses!” Ahlmann said as the fixture celebrated a record attendance of 74,700 spectators throughout the weekend.

German course designer, Frank Rothenberger, was determined he wouldn’t have a repeat of what happened in the last two Longines qualifiers at Leipzig Exhibition Centre. In 2018 a total of 15 went into the jump-off, and in 2017 there were 16 horse-and-rider combinations racing against the clock. However, a relentlessly testing first-round track, and a tidy time-allowed of 72 seconds, ensured there were just seven battling it out in the closing stages.

The Netherlands’ Leopold van Asten and VDL Groep Beauty led the way with a fence down in 40.83 seconds, and when Germany’s Tobias Meyer tried a very tight inside turn to the third, he paid the price when Queentina slammed on the brakes. Third to go, Mathy Jr, set a strong target when breaking the beam with a clean round in 41.49 seconds.

Deusser crossed the line in 39.53 seconds but left the same fence as van Asten, the planks at fence five, on the floor and although de Luca was foot-perfect, his time of 42.19 left Mathy still out in front with just two left to go. The crowd gasped when home hero and three-time Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ champion Marcus Ehning kicked out the first before steaming around the rest of the track with the fearless Comme Il Faut, so Ahlmann knew exactly what he had to do, and Caribis Z made it look very easy when cruising through the finish in the winning time of 40.70 seconds to a massive roar of approval from the packed stadium.

“Caribis jumped very, very well – the course really suited him; the short distances were good for me so that was our luck today!” Ahlmann said.

“He’s always been a bit in the shadow of Taloubet and Codex, but he’s taken a huge step forward over the last season and he’s ready for big things now. He jumps really light and he’s very quick in a jump-off; he’s a very sporty horse!” he said of the stallion he knows well, because they’ve been a partnership for the last five years.

Ahlmann said he is unlikely compete at the last two Western European League qualifiers which will take place in Amsterdam (NED) next weekend and Bordeaux (FRA) two weeks later. But with a massive 72 qualifying points Christian Ahlmann can happily relax ahead of the Longines 2019 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April. “I have two horses in great shape at the moment, so I’m really looking forward to the Final now!” he added.

Watch highlights here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Victory in $72k NetJets Grand Prix CSI 2* Goes to Mario Deslauriers and Amsterdam 27

Mario Deslauriers and Amsterdam 27. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL — January 19, 2019 — The “Saturday Night Lights” series continued on January 19 with the $72,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI 2* and Olympian Mario Deslauriers (CAN) and Amsterdam 27 scoring a win under the lights at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in the second week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF).

There were 45 entries in the grand prix, and eight were able to go clear over a course designed by Oscar Soberon of Mexico.

Brad Wolf Snags Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36+ Champion Title

Brad Wolf and 2018 USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship winner Private Practice took home the tricolor ribbon in the Palm Beach Equine Clinic Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’3” 36+ division during Week 2 of WEF.

After ribboning two firsts, two seconds, a seventh, and an eighth, the pair was asked to return for a “hack-off” with Becky Gochman and Mythical, with whom they were tied for champion. As both combinations took to the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Field one last time, Private Practice once again displayed winning form as a hunter and sealed the victory for himself and Wolf.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Mckayla Langmeier and Bon Vivant Win $6,000 FEI Bainbridge 1.40m Jumpers CSI 2* at WEF

Mckayla Langmeier and Bon Vivant. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 18, 2019 – The second week of 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) is well underway at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL with a win for 18-year-old Mckayla Langmeier of East Granby, CT riding Bon Vivant in the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m speed class on Friday, January 18.

Langmeier and her eight-year-old gelding Bon Vivant (Bustique x Doris Day V Overis Z) competed in the high junior jumpers last year and decided to test the waters in their first FEI class. Her goal was to have a fast and competitive ride and she did just that. The pair went towards the end of the line-up, putting in a fast and clear round of 58.77 seconds to top the class. They will compete later in the week in the $36,000 CaptiveOne 1.45m Classic on Sunday and hope to continue at this level throughout circuit.

Jennifer Magee Pilots Clementine to Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Hunter Middle (Sec. A) Victory

Hunter competition in the Rost Arena at PBIEC started off Friday morning with the remaining classes in the Triple Crown Blankets Adult Amateur Hunter Middle (Sec. A) division. Wellington resident Jennifer Magee scored her first hunter championship win with Clementine.

Magee and the 10-year-old Warmblood mare are a new pair as Clementine was leased from Andrea Guzinski only after Magee’s original hunter horse was laid up on injury. The duo swept competition over the course of two days securing two firsts, a second, and two fourths to capture the tricolor ribbon.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Lauren Hough and Valinski S Victorious in $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 2*

Lauren Hough and Valinski S. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 17, 2019 – Lauren Hough rode Valinski S to the win in the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 2* on Thursday, January 17, at the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) in Wellington, FL.

A starting field of 100 entries faced off in Thursday’s featured event, the $36,000 Equinimity WEF Challenge Cup CSI 2*, with 15 advancing to jump off over the Oscar Soberon (MEX) designed short course.

Jennifer Bauersachs and Another Love Jump to Championship in Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9”

The Equine Tack & Nutritionals Green Hunter 3’9” division concluded on Thursday, January 17, at the Winter Equestrian Festival with a victory for New Jersey native Jennifer Bauersachs aboard Another Love. The pair performed well in the previous day’s over fences and under saddle classes having placed first, third, and fifth. Returning to the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring, the duo took another first place to secure the championship.

The reserve champion title went to Havens Schatt of Georgetown, KY aboard Spectacular, a nine-year-old Holsteiner gelding (Cachas x Varese) owned by SHP Barn, LLC. The duo claimed two seconds, a third, and a ninth place.

Bauersachs has piloted the 10-year-old Holsteiner mare for Debra Carey’s Meritage Stables, LLC for two years, but she only began competing her a year ago after Bauersachs came back from an injury.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito Win Opening Class during Second Week of WEF

Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL — January 16, 2019 — The second week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) kicked off on Wednesday, January 16, in the International Arena at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center in Wellington, FL with a win for Ireland’s Darragh Kenny aboard mount Billy Dorito. The pair went early in the lineup and held the lead all the way through in the $8,000 Douglas Elliman 1.45m Open Jumper class.

WEF continues with 12 consecutive weeks of world-class competition through March 31, 2019. The second week of competition at WEF is sponsored by NetJets and features the $72,000 NetJets Grand Prix CSI2* during “Saturday Night Lights” on January 19 at 7 p.m. in the International Arena. The week will also host a variety of other FEI-rated two-star events in jumper divisions, along with top hunter and jumper competition.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Beat Mändli and Simba Capture First $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix

Beat Mändli and Simba. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 13, 2019 – The first week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) concluded competition on Sunday, January 13, with the $75,000 Rosenbaum PLLC Grand Prix at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center. Beat Mändli (SUI) and Simba, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC, flew to the win of the first grand prix of the season.

There were 37 entries in the Sunday afternoon grand prix, competing over a course set by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. Only six found the key to a clear round and returned for a jump-off.

First in was Mändli on Simba, owned by Grant Road Partners LLC. As one of three clear rounds, they set an unbeatable time of 37.539 seconds to secure victory.

Tina Allen Secures Victory in the Hunt Ltd. Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 36+

On the final day during the opening week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival, the Hunt Limited Amateur-Owner Hunter 3’6” 36+ wrapped up competition in the Equine Tack & Nutritionals Ring. Returning for the flat phase and two additional over fences classes, Tina Allen of New Canaan, CT accumulated 24 points to claim the championship title.

Already in good standing with a first place, a seventh, and eighth place, and a third in the under saddle, Allen piloted her self-owned grey gelding, Sinatra, to a win in the stake class. The victory was enough to push the pair into the lead just several points over Krysia Nelson who took home the reserve championship. Nelson finished the division on a total of 19 points aboard Cobham Park.

Allen purchased the coming seven-year-old Westphalian gelding (Last Man Standing x Lovely) two years ago and she has been bringing the young horse up through the divisions with their current division as the goal.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Swiss Bliss as Brilliant Fuchs and Clooney Win at Basel

Martin Fuchs and Clooney. (FEI/Katja Stuppia)

Swiss spectators were treated to a superb moment of top sport when homegrown hero, Martin Fuchs (26), stormed to victory at the tenth leg of the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ 2018/2019 Western European League at Basel (SUI).

This was the tenth anniversary of the fixture staged in the medieval Swiss town, but the first time for the venue at St Jakobshalle to host a leg of the Jumping World Cup series. The young man who scooped individual silver at last year’s FEI World Equestrian Games™ made it all the more memorable when steering his faithful grey gelding Clooney to a last-to-go win in a nail-biting three-horse jump-off against the clock.

“It’s amazing! So many people came here today, lots of my friends and my family, so to win at home in front of them is always so special – this was a great day for me and my amazing horse Clooney!” — Martin Fuchs (SUI)

The Netherlands’ Marc Houtzager (48) had to settle for runner-up spot with Sterrehof’s Calimero while Belgium’s Pieter Devos (32) and Apart slotted into third on a day when a first-round clear proved very difficult to achieve.

The opening course designed by Germany’s Frank Rothenberger was no walk-in-the-park, with testing turns, difficult stride distances, and a tight time-allowed of 68 seconds ensuring that only those horse-and-rider partnerships that were completely in sync would leave all the timber intact. A total of 21 had given it their best before Houtzager put the first clear on the board and, as so often happens, that was followed by another from Devos who was next to go. Two horses later Fuchs would add his name to the very short list of successful contenders to make the cut into the second-round race against the clock.

Houtzager was first to take on the jump-off track and set the target with a great clear in 38.84 seconds, but Devos upped the pace considerably when next to go with his Stuttgart winner, Apart. However, the influential double at fence 11 was still in place and when the pair lost impulsion after a tight turn on the approach the first element fell for four faults in the very quick time of 36.98 seconds.

So as Fuchs entered the arena the result was still wide open and the crowd was buzzing in anticipation. Clooney was crowned Swiss Horse of the Year this week and hopes were high that the dynamic duo whose stellar career already includes ninth place individually at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a fourth-place finish at the Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final in Omaha (USA) in 2017 and that individual silver at last year’s World Championships would steal the last-minute limelight.

It was some pressure, but they didn’t disappoint, the gallant 13-year-old grey responding with all the willingness in the world as his rider asked him to lengthen his stride between the two oxers at the midway stage, putting in a supreme effort to clear the tricky double three from home and then turning super-tight to the penultimate red vertical. Fuchs kept his eye on the finishing line as they cleared the final fence, and when he turned to check the time, he threw his hat in the air in celebration as 37.61 seconds left him the clear winner. The crowd went wild.

“He was a bit fresh and spooky in the first round and the short time-allowed didn’t make it any easier – I was just inside time which was a bit lucky!” he said afterwards. But he did have a plan. “I saw the riders going before me and I discussed what to do with Steve (Guerdat) and my dad (Thomas Fuchs),” said the man who also topped the fourth leg of the Western European series in Lyon (FRA) in November.

He has now moved back up to third on the Western European League which continues to be led by his fellow-countryman and World No. 1 rider Steve Guerdat, while Devos is in second place. With 55 points on the board Fuchs is well qualified for the Longines 2019 Final in Gothenburg, Sweden in April and is now heading off to compete in Florida, USA for the next few weeks and is taking Clooney with him.

Basel’s entry to the Western European League circuit got the thumbs up from FEI Jumping Director John Roche. “The event has been organised to the highest standard; there was a completely full house today and the atmosphere was electric. A home win went to the last man into the arena, so you couldn’t have written a better script for a fantastic day of sport!” he said.

The League now moves on to Leipzig, Germany next weekend.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Shannon Gibbons
Media Relations and Communications Manager
shannon.gibbons@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 46

Women Return to Dominance in $75,000 Battle of the Sexes

Team captain Nicole Bellissimo. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL – January 12, 2019 – After suffering their first loss in 10 years in 2018, the women’s team stormed back to dominate the $75,000 Battle of the Sexes presented by Wellington Regional Medical Center in 2019 by winning 29 points to the men’s team’s 11 total points. The competition ended after just five of the 10 match races completed when it was clear the men couldn’t garner enough points to take victory.

In the opening speed round, the women and men tied with five points each. The fastest speed round of the night went to Jessica Mendoza (GBR), who recorded a time of 51.258 seconds to win her round over Daniel Coyle (IRL).

The women took over in the second phase, the relay. They won all three relays, picking up 15 points to increase their total to 20 points, while the men remained on five points. While the men showed an early glimmer by winning the first two match races with David Blake (IRL) and Andrew Bourns (IRL), three subsequent victories by Carly Anthony (USA), KC Van Aarem (USA), and Sydney Shulman (USA) sealed the overall win for the women.

Adrienne Sternlicht Takes Top Prize in $25,000 CaptiveOne Advisors Classic

Out of a field of 29 entries, Adrienne Sternlicht (USA) stood at the top after a fast jump-off round in 37.178 seconds riding Just A Gamble. Eleven advanced to the jump-off over a course set by Eric Hasbrouck of the United States. Coming in second place was Mario Deslauriers (CAN) on Amsterdam 27 in 37.202 seconds, while Jonathan McCrea (USA) and Aristoteles V took third place with a time of 37.748 seconds.

This was the first week of competition for Sternlicht and her new horse, Just A Gamble, who arrived in Florida in December, and they have since spent time getting to know each other.

“[It] was really not doing too much flatwork because she’s super hot,” said Sternlicht of the 10-year-old BWP mare by Toulon x Corofino. “We’ve put her on what we call the ‘Rothchild Program,’ which is a lot of walk/trot work, a lot of trail riding, trying to get her to settle a bit. It’s almost better if she’s more unfit than fit. Even with her build and technique, she’s a powerhouse behind; she has all the scope in the world. It’s about keeping her mentally calm.”

Maggie Hill and O’Ryan Sweep the Small Junior Hunters 3’6 16-17 to Win First Championship of WEF

The Small Junior Hunters 3’6 16-17 riders returned to Palm Beach International Equestrian Center on Saturday to contend for the championship title of Week 1. After two firsts, a second, and a fifth over fences along with another second under saddle, Maggie Hill of Jackson, WY took home the tricolor ribbon. Hill piloted Stella Styslinger’s O’Ryan, a 17-year-old bay Holsteiner gelding, to consistent top placings with two firsts, two seconds, and a fifth.

She and O’Ryan have been successful partners for the past two years under the careful tutelage of three-time USHJA International Hunter Derby Championship winner Liza Boyd. The pair has been successful with their junior hunter endeavors, but Hill hopes to compete the veteran hunter in several derbies throughout the rest of the season.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito Are Best in $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge at WEF

Darragh Kenny and Billy Dorito. Photo © Sportfot.

Wellington, FL — January 11, 2019 — Ireland’s Darragh Kenny and his mount, Billy Dorito, bested a field of 68 entries to win the $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge by a margin of more than three seconds on Friday, January 11, during the first week of the 2019 Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC) in Wellington, FL.

In Friday’s featured $6,000 Bainbridge 1.40m Speed Challenge, Kenny and Billy Dorito were the seventh entry to contest the Eric Hasbrouck-designed track, stopping the clock in a quick and clear 71.221 seconds. While 21 entries would jump clear throughout the class, none would catch the early time to beat set by Kenny and the nine-year-old bay Anglo European Studbook gelding (Billy Mexico x Vechta) owned by Vlock Show Stables LLC.

Laurie Stevens and Santiago Return to WEF to Win Adult Amateur Hunter Older Grand Champion

After a year-long hiatus from the E. R. Mische Grand Hunter Ring at the Palm Beach International Equestrian Center, Laurie Stevens and her own Santiago returned ready to win. The pair performed consistently throughout the division with two firsts, a second, a third, and fifth to capture the grand championship title during Week 1 of the Winter Equestrian Festival.

“Two years ago, I was reserve champion for the entire circuit, but then I had an accident in July of 2017 that forced me to take the entire last year off,” Stevens said. “So, I haven’t even been in this ring in two years.”

The pair made their first debut back into the Adult Amateur division in July and have been working hard to be ready for the winter season since.

For full results, please visit www.PBIEC.com.

Counting Down to the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup 2019 Series

Nicola Philippaerts of the winning Belgian team at the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ Barcelona 2018 Final (FEI/Lukasz Kowalski)

Celebrating the 110th season of team sport at its very best

The excitement is already building ahead of the opening round of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 series which will kick off at Deeridge Farm in Wellington, Florida (USA) next month. This top-class team sport, which combines national pride and passion with super-sharp competition, is as fresh as ever as it celebrates its 110th season.

Trust and understanding between horses and their riders, solidarity amongst the team members and their support crews, and the unique camaraderie between athletes from a wide range of countries as they challenge for the title they all want to win sets this series apart from the rest. It’s the battlefield of the greats, and each and every horseman and horsewoman want to place their names amongst those who have gone before them in pursuit of Nations Cup glory.

The Wellington fixture is part of the three-leg North America, Central America & Caribbean league that also includes a visit to Coapexpan (MEX) in May and to Langley (CAN) in June. There will be a single qualifier for the Middle East region at Abu Dhabi (UAE) in February, while the sole Europe Division 2 qualifier looks set to take place in Athens (GRE), with full details yet to be confirmed.

For the 10 Europe Division 1 teams the edge-of-the-seat action gets underway at La Baule (FRA) in May, and from there it moves on to St Gallen (SUI), Sopot (POL) and Geesteren (NED) in June, and then to Falsterbo (SWE) and Hickstead (GBR) in July. This league is always hotly contested, with emotions running particularly high when riders are flying their country’s flag in front of their home crowd. The last of the seven legs in this division will take place in Dublin (IRL) in August, and each team has been allocated four specific qualifying opportunities, with all four results counting in the battle for a qualifying spot at the 2019 Final.

The reigning champions from Belgium have been allocated points-gaining opportunities at La Baule, Sopot, Geesteren, and Hickstead, and after their heady win in 2018 they will be hoping to do it all over again.

Peter Weinberg’s “Never Give Up Team” demonstrated the very essence of the Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ concept when producing a gutsy, determined performance to clinch victory in the super-tough finale at the Real Club de Polo in Barcelona (ESP) last October. They had only just climbed back into Europe Division 1 after relegation, so their victory was all the sweeter.

“We call ourselves the “Never Give Up Team” because we were fighting to the very last rider!” said the Belgian Chef d’Equipe that day.

For the seventh successive season the Final will return to the Spanish venue from 3 to 10 October this year, and there will be an extra-special edge to it. Because along with the hugely prestigious Longines FEI Jumping Nations Cup™ 2019 trophy, the last remaining qualifying spot for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will also be up for grabs. This will go to the highest-placed team not already qualified, so as the race to earn a starting spot at the 2019 Final begins there is a whole lot hanging in the balance, and fantastic days of superb sport ahead.

Don’t miss a hoofbeat….

Calendar details here.

By Louise Parkes

Media contact:

Vanessa Martin Randin
Senior Manager, Media Relations & Communications
Communications Department
Vanessa.Randin@fei.org
+41 78 750 61 73